Nov 07, 2018 Attraction Hiroshima City

Fukuromachi Elementary School Peace Museum -Learning About the Atrocities of Atomic War and the Importance of Peace

#Attraction ,#Historical Site ,#Museum ,#Peace

Inside the city limits of Hiroshima City proper exist many buildings that survived the atomic bombing of Japan during World War II.
The most famous of these buildings is the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, commonly referred to as the Atomic Bomb Dome.
However, today I’d like to talk about the Fukuromachi Elementary School Peace museum.

The museum, still bearing the scars of war along its stark hallways, saw more than 300,000 visitors in 2014.
Walking through the classrooms really gives you a sense of what the children at the time must have been like. Read on to learn more about the history and highlights of the museum.

The History of Fukuromachi Elementary School

First opened in 1873, Fukuromachi Elementary School lies a mere 460-meters from the center of the blast from the atomic bomb.
At the moment of the explosion itself many students had already been evacuated and were able to escape harm, those still inside the building are said to have died instantly.
Most of the building caught fire and was destroyed as it was constructed from wood, but the east wing of the school was made of steel and concrete and was able to withstand the explosion.

The Fukuromachi Elementary School Peace Museum resides within this east wing.
Within the museum are picture panels and damaged classroom doors amongst other objects on display, all arranged to highlight the misery of wartime Japan as well as a call for peace in the world.

A Message Carved in the Wall

The east wing of Fukuromachi Elementary School was used as a temporary hospital and shelter for survivors in the days following the bombing of Hiroshima.
A corner on the first floor of the museum is a space dedicated to this time in the school’s history.

Messages for their families are scrawled into the walls of this area by the survivors who had stayed there.
While most of these images on the “Photo Wall” are now photo panels, if you look closely there are still a few sections of the real wall preserved there.

The Photo Wall is a section of wall that lay behind a classroom blackboard.
It is believed that survivors left messages for family members or acquaintances here so that those who read the messages could find them later. It wasn’t discovered until the year 2000 when the building was undergoing demolition. It was due to this discovery that the building was then preserved and became the museum that it is today.
While it took over 50 years for the section of wall to be discovered, it was luckily well-preserved. If you squint you can see each individual character carved into the wall.

A Tale of Tragedy

Inside the museum are 36 pieces of precious atomic bomb relics on display.
The picture above shows both a door and a window that survived that tragic day. It is believed that the door is made from solid steel and because of this it is still fully intact.
On the other hand, there are faint traces that one section of the glass in the center of the door melted from the intense heat of the explosion.

In this photo we can see part of a pillar that was used during relief efforts in the following days after the bomb was dropped.
Murakami (lit. “patient Murakami”)” was written on said pillar, so we know that a patient by the name of Murakami stayed there.

Assemblies on History and Peace Studies

The second floor of the museum houses all of the origami cranes that come in from all over Japan.

Origami cranes and the even more difficult to make string of 1000 cranes are a symbol of peace and can be seen not only at the museum but also in places such as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and monuments honoring the spirits of the dead.

In addition, the museum holds peace studies lectures for children each year, focusing on the atrocities of war and the preciousness of life.
I myself participated in these when I was younger, watching videos, making paper cranes, peace assemblies and more, and more than 20 years later I still keep those experiences close to my heart.

In Closing

Fukuromachi Elementary School Peace Museum is open year round save for a few days at the beginning and end of each year.
While it is located on the grounds of the current Fukuromachi Elementary School, it is an entirely separate building and thus easy for anyone to go inside. It’s within walking distance of several popular shopping arcades, the Atomic Bomb Dome, and many more popular places to visit in Hiroshima.
It’s also free to enter, so please go and have a look.

Fukuromachi Elementary School Peace Museum
Address 6-36 Fukuromachi, Nakak-ku (map)
Closest Station 3 mins walk from Fukuromachi tram stop
Open 9:00am – 5:00pm
Closed December 28 – January 4
Website Website
Entrance Fee Free